Travelodge UK


Travelodge Hotels Limited is a private company operating in the hotels and hospitality industry throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. Known simply as Travelodge, it is the UK's largest independent hotel brand with over 570 hotels across the UK.[3]

Travelodge Hotels Limited
TypePrivate limited company
IndustryHospitality
Founded1973 (1973)
HeadquartersThame, England
Number of locations
over 500 hotels in UK[1]
11 hotels in Ireland[1]
5 hotels in Spain[2]
Number of employees
11,000 (full and part-time) (2011)[1]
Websitewww.travelodge.co.uk

Company history


A city centre Travelodge in York

Opening by Trusthouse Forte

In the early 1970s, Charles Forte bought the US Travelodge brand with the hope of establishing it in Britain. The first Travelodges opened in 1973 in former Excelsior Motor Lodge branches, a brand of motels owned by Forte which were located near busy roads.[4] Trusthouse Forte would later open another roadside hotel chain in 1976. These were Little Chef Lodges which were attached to Little Chef restaurants and was the first chain of budget hotels in the UK.[5] In 1988, the two chains were combined and rebranded to become "Forte Travelodge".

Granada Ownership

In 1995, Travelodge was bought by Granada, when the Forte Group (formerly Trusthouse Forte) underwent a hostile takeover. Granada decided to open Travelodges away from the roadside, with the first urban Travelodge opening in 1997. In 2001, Granada merged and then de-merged with Compass Group, where their hospitality interests were transferred to Compass.[4]

Sale to Permira

In 2003, Travelodge was sold alongside Little Chef to Permira, who created parent company TLLC Group Holdings Ltd and moved Travelodge's headquarters from Toddington in Bedfordshire to Thame in Oxfordshire in June 2003.[6]

In 2004, it bought the Drury Lane Moat House hotel for £11m, and the London Farringdon and London Islington Thistle hotels.[7] In July of that year, it decided to sell 136 of its hotels for £400m, then lease them back.[8]

Purchase by Dubai International Capital

In August 2006, Travelodge was split from Little Chef and sold to Dubai International Capital (DIC), a United Arab Emirates-based company, for £675 million.

In mid-2010, Travelodge bought 52 Innkeeper's Lodge properties from the Mitchells & Butlers pub chain, leaving less than half the original number of Innkeeper's Lodge hotels. In 2011, Travelodge announced a tie-up with British supermarket Waitrose to develop three joint sites in the UK.[9]

Financial restructuring in 2012

In February 2012, DIC had to prepare a bailout package due to a large debt of £478 million that was added to Travelodge's balance sheet following its purchase; despite significant earnings since 2006, these could not cover the debt repayments and the company recorded a debt of £517m in 2011.[10] The company undertook a financial restructure during April 2012, with ownership passing to New York-based hedge funds GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group, as well as Goldman Sachs.[11] On 17 August 2012 Travelodge UK confirmed[12] that the financial restructuring would be through a company voluntary arrangement which would include:

  • At least £75m of new money being injected into the Company.
  • £55m being invested into a major refurbishment programme across the estate, covering over 11,000 rooms and 175 hotels. The refurbishment programme was due to start in early 2013 and continue through to summer 2014.
  • Bank debt of £235m will be written off and £71m repaid, reducing total bank debt from £635m to £329m.

However, Travelodge also stated that it was no longer viable to operate 49 hotels (8% of the estate), for which the company would now seek new operators.

Hotels transferred to other hotel operators include Edinburgh Belford transferred to Britannia Hotels, Blackpool transferred to Ibis, Huddersfield, Liphook and Walsall transferred to Metro Inns, and Bolton Services, Eastbourne, Edinburgh Haymarket, Manchester Airport, Manchester Worsley and Wentbridge transferred to independent operators. Travelodge's hotels in Coventry and Sutton Scotney (North and South) were closed.

Travelodge UK also operate eleven hotels in the Republic of Ireland and five hotels in Spain.

A Travelodge at Leeds Bradford Airport

Controversies


Overbooking

In 2006, the BBC programme Watchdog highlighted Travelodge's policy of overbooking their hotels, turning guests away even when they have booked against a credit card.[13]

Plymouth advertising

To advertise its new location in Plymouth in 2004, Travelodge ran a poster campaign using the phrase "Other hotels in Plymouth fleece you, we prefer duvets" which was not well received by other hotels in the area and was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority.[14]

False accusations

On more than one occasion, Travelodge have wrongly suspected fathers of child grooming or pedophilia after booking a shared room with their teenage daughters.[15][16]

Eviction of homeless families

In March 2020 The Guardian reported that Travelodge gave homeless families and key workers only two hours’ notice to leave when it shut 360 of its UK hotels in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Although the government had told hotels to close, it later exempted those accommodating key workers or homeless people.[17]

David and Jean Davidson's stay


In 2007 media around the world reported that David and Jean Davidson, a retired couple originally from Sheffield, had stayed at Travelodges in Newark, Worksop and Grantham for a combined total of 22 years, making each lodge their home.[18] The retired banker and naval sailor and his wheelchair-using wife found the cost of their stay comparable with living in a house, but with the benefits of housekeeping service and without added costs such as council tax or utilities.[19]

References


  1. Travelodge Hotels Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 13 June 2011
  2. 2 hotels Thailand<refThrough sister company, Travelodge Hoteles Espana SL (Spain), as reported in Endell Group Holdings Limited, Report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2010, dated 3 March 2011</ref>
    Area served
    United Kingdom
    Republic of Ireland
    Spain
    Key people
    • Keith Hamill (chairman)
    • Craig Bonnar (CEO)
    ProductsHotelsRevenue £637.1m (2018)[1] £153.5m (EBITDAR)[1]
    £48.5m (EBITDA) (2010)[1] £27.0m (2010)[1]Total assets £888.4m (net) (2010)[1]OwnerGoldenTree Asset Management, Avenue Capital Group and Goldman Sachs<ref>Thomas, Nathalie (17 August 2012). "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring". Daily Telegraph, London.
  3. "About Us | Travelodge". Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  4. "Travelodge". Motorway Services Online. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  5. "Compass sells Little Chef and Travelodge". BBC. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  6. "Compass sells Little Chef and Travelodge". BBC. 18 December 2002. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  7. "Press release: TRAVELODGE NOW OFFERS EVEN MORE LOW-COST CENTRAL LONDON HOTEL ROOMS – ROOMS RATES START AT JUST £45 IN CENTRAL LONDON - TRAVELODGE OPENS TRAVELODGE LONDON ISLINGTON AND TRAVELODGE LONDON FARRINGDON". Travelodge. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  8. "The Times & The Sunday Times". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  9. "Travelodge and Waitrose in tie-up". 28 November 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. Ruddick, Graham (20 February 2012). "Travelodge pulled down by £100m debt finance bill". Retrieved 24 April 2018 via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  11. Clarey, James. "Dubai-owned Travelodge swaps CEO amid restructure – HotelierMiddleEast.com". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  12. Press Release. "Travelodge agrees financial restructuring and initiates a Company Voluntary Arrangement". Travelodge UK. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  13. "Travelodge". BBC Consumer. BBC. 24 October 2006. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Watchdog researchers booked three rooms at a Travelodge in London. Each went to check in late at night but well within Travelodge's terms and conditions. All were told the hotel was full and that, despite their bookings, there were no rooms available.
  14. "Poster campaign angers hoteliers". 8 September 2004. Retrieved 24 April 2018 via news.bbc.co.uk.
  15. [permanent dead link]
  16. "Father mistaken for a paedophile after booking a hotel room with his 14-year-old daughter". 18 February 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  17. "Government clashes with Travelodge after homeless told to leave". The Guardian. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  18. Stokes, Paul (12 September 2007). "Telegraph". News. London: The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 14 September 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2007. Pensioners David and Jean Davidson found living in a Travelodge hotel was a cheaper option than an old people's home and have never looked back.
  19. Stokes, Paul (11 September 2007). "Pensioners lived in a Travelodge for 22 years". Telegraph. Retrieved 12 April 2017.